The Buffalo Bills recently promoted assistant general manager Doug Whaley to general manager, making him the first African-American GM in that team’s history and the seventh ever in the NFL.
Whaley, 40, served in the Bills’ front office for three years after working as a scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 12 years. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native also played linebacker for the University of Pittsburgh before becoming a pro scout for the Steelers in 1995.
As the 12th GM in team history and fifth in 12 years, Whaley will attempt to bring the Bills back to winning form; the team hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2004.
“It’s an organizational focus, and our main goal is to give the fans of the Buffalo Bills a team that consistently competes for championships,” Whaley said at a news conference. “We feel good about the people that we have on the roster now. We’re excited about [2013 first round draft pick] EJ [Manuel]. We're excited about the [new head coach Doug Marrone]. And we're just looking to show it on the field.”
Whaley is the only Black man to be hired as a GM or head coach in this offseason, during which eight head coach and seven GM positions were vacant. He now joins a very short list of Black GMs in the NFL, which includes Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, New York Giants GM Jerry Reese, Houston Texans GM Rick Smith, Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew, Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and former Arizona Cardinals GM Rod Graves.